Sounds counter-intuitive? Really think about it. The kids aren't texting instead of writing flowery essays about the state of modern democracy. They're texting instead of not writing at all. How many kids would ever willingly write a sentence if texting and email didn't exist? Hell, how many would write poetry? Thanks to texting, we have a whole new generation of writers, getting massive amounts of practice at forming thoughts into words -- and concise words, at that, thanks to character length restrictions.
And as for texting in class: It has its place too, provided it is used in moderation. Texting, being a quiet and fairly nondisruptive type of communication, has been found to improve the ability to concentrate. This is only in relation to other, more disruptive forms of communication such as the telephone, email and face-to-face conversations, though. Still, in the hectic environment of a crowded classroom, sometimes "They could be doing worse" is as good as it gets.
"Well at least they aren't selling drugs. Openly."